The Verse’s Lou Clement headed down to Brighton Dome to see legendary Billy Ocean’s concert, featuring classic hits, old and new, on 24th April.
The Dome was packed to the brim. Emotion and nostalgia were palpable. Billy Ocean represented a childhood in the 80’s for me. He was what was played on the radio on day trips to Skye. On cassette, no less.
The fact that he is still touring at 67 is admirable and that I’ve finally made it to see him, well it was pretty special. I realised it wasn’t just me that thought this was a poignant event, as I told friends and family about the the event they were excited to come along as well, and perhaps to remember Billy Ocean, a singer from Essex, experience multiple number ones in the UK but also go on to have success in the US and win a Grammy.
Ocean had a fantastic presence on stage. Dressed in a white suit he was relaxed and talkative on stage. The crowd were soon up on their feet and singing back to him as he played through the hits. It wasn’t just the disco-inspired soulful hits that brought back the memories but also ballads like Suddenly. I had been waiting all night for this (and Carribean Queen). About halfway through the set, the opening chords struck and the iconic and beautiful love song echoed out. Ocean’s vocals were amazing.
There was a lot of love for him too, and the songs were full of optimism. When he thanked people at the end of the show, he also made a plea for donations, on behalf of a member of the team that had recovered from cancer. It was genuine, it was nice to see. He thanked the supporting crew – people like the promoters, the people that did the lighting, the sound engineers. What a decent thing to do. I didn’t expect my pop hero to do anything other that sing those memorable tunes, but he did impart a little of his personality over the course of the evening too. There was lots of audience participation and we all sang our hearts out. His daughter was a backing singer and she looked proud as can be. Well, you would be wouldn’t you?
The encore was the song we were all crying out for, whilst outside we had a wet cold drizzle and threats of snow on the weather report, Ocean talked to us of white beaches, clear blue seas and rum cocktails, before he began an epic rendition of the classic song, Carribean Queen. A brilliant night out and a fantastic performance from Billy Ocean and his band.